In our new report series "8 Exponential Trends that will Shape Humanity" we explore eight rapidly accelerating trends that will shape institutions, governments, businesses and everyday consumers. The third section of the report examines the future of healthcare. 

Sun Microsystems co founder and healthcare investor Vinod Khosla likes to say that “80% Of What Doctors Do Today Will Be Replaced By Technology In 10 Years.”  

That might seem like an outrageous prediction, or as a hyperbolic statement by someone pushing disruptive medical technology, but it is a safer bet than you might think.   

From Doctor Google to Prescribing Apps

The beginnings of the Citizen Doctor movement can be traced back to the beginnings of the Internet. Access to web search enabled consumers to research their own ailments (for better or worse). This personal research became easier and more informative with the introduction of sites like WebMD and medical forums. Consumers began to self-diagnose although doctors warned against using the Internet for personal medical guidance.

The next evolution in personal care came with the introduction of the quantified self movement and the proliferation of health apps. With more accurate tools at their disposal, those who wanted to track and improve their health had a bounty of useful tools right in their smartphones.

As this personal tracking movement has become even more sophisticated, healthcare is no longer the domain of specialists. With the rise of digital health, - a move from writing scripts to prescribing apps and sensors, growing numbers of people are now taking their health into their own hands.

Since the tools and quantified data for healthy living are available to everyone, citizen doctors are tracking their health in real time and heading off problems before they occur.

The future of medicine is predictive, personalized, preventative and is moving from being episodic and reactive to continuous and proactive.

Building a Real Life Tricorder

Moving beyond the current state of apps and wearables, we are seeing the emergence of compact, tools that rival the abilities of the fictional “Tricorder” health monitoring device from Star Trek.  Recent efforts from Scanadu and the Qualcomm X Prize are aiming to create digital tools that can fully diagnose any health issue by leveraging advanced computational power and cloud computing.

To learn more about the Future of Healthcare, download our free report here.

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